Iowa BIG conducting charity book drive through Dec. 31

Students partnering with Barnes & Noble to benefit children

Stacks of books rest on a table. (Gazette file photo)
Stacks of books rest on a table. (Gazette file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A group of students from Iowa BIG is working with Barnes & Noble in Cedar Rapids to collect books for youth this holiday season.

Now through Dec. 31, books can be dropped off at one of two locations: the Barnes & Noble store at 333 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, and the Iowa BIG offices located on the second floor of kerndt Bros. Savings Bank, 600 Boyson Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids.

The goal is collect 8,000 books that will be donated to organizations like Four Oaks, Waypoint, Grateful Grannies, Families Helping Families, Henry Davidson Youth Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids.

Iowa BIG is a project-based school supported by Cedar Rapids, College Community, and Linn-Mar community school districts. Students take initiative in their learning and partner up with businesses in the community to work on projects as teams. This gives students the ability to learn and use real-world skills like leadership, accountability and teamwork on projects they are passionate about, while earning high school credit.

Sydney Waddell, 18, of Cedar Rapids, a senior at Linn-Mar High School and one of six Iowa BIG students working on the project, said the group already has collected between 1,000 and 2,000 books. She said donations can be new or gently used books.

Waddell said the group chose the project following a presentation by Amanda Zhorne, community business development manager at Barnes & Noble.

“I thought it was cool how the books touched children,” said Waddell, adding she also likes actually putting together a project of this nature. “We’re just trying to get kids books. If we get enough books, we’re open to donate to other places.”


Waddell said several times during the book drive, students will be at Barnes & Noble to promote the initiative. She also said there will be several times when the bookstore will donate 20 percent of each sale to the project so long as customers mention the book drive. She said that includes mentioning the drive at the main register and at the Starbucks register inside the store.

Money raised will be used to purchase additional books.

“If you cannot donate, but still would like to support our cause, please share our book drive with your friends, family members, and co-workers,” Waddell said. “With more people aware of our book drive, we’ll be one step closer to reaching our goal.”

For more information about the drive, send email to



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